In consequence of this scene, Marie Antoinette, at the instigation of the Abbe Vermond, wrote to her mother, the Empress, complaining of the slight put upon her rank, birth, and dignity, and requesting the Empress would signify her displeasure to the Court of France, as she had done to that of Spain on a similar occasion in favour of her sister, the Queen of Naples.
Importance of Marie Antoinette in the Revolution. Value of her Correspondence as a Means of estimating her Character. Her Birth, November 2d, 1755. Epigram of Metastasio. Habits of the Imperial Family. Schönbrunn. Death of the Emperor. Projects for the Marriage of the Archduchess. Her Education. The Abbé de Vermond. Metastasio. Gluck. Proposal for the Marriage of Marie Antoinette to the Dauphin.
Her interest in his favour was entirely created by the Abbe Vermond, himself too superficial to pronounce upon any qualities, and especially such as were requisite for so high a station.
This youth, called by L'Etoile Vermond, and by Bassompierre Charmond, made his way to Paris as best he might, and arrived in the capital after Marguerite had taken up her residence as already stated in the Faubourg St. Antoine.
Another decision of the Court, which could not be announced by an edict, was that all ecclesiastical benefices, from the humblest priory up to the richest abbey, should in future be appanages of the nobility. Being the son of a village surgeon, the Abbe de Vermond, who had great influence in the disposition of benefices, was particularly struck with the justice of this decree.
"The Abbe Vermond, seeing the defeat of the party of the Duc de Choiseul, by whom he had been sent to the Court of Vienna on the recommendation of Brienne, began to tremble for his own security.
By many, the partiality which prompted Vermond to espouse the interests of the Archbishop was ascribed to the amiable sentiment of gratitude for the recommendation of that dignitary, by which Vermond himself first obtained his situation at Court; but there were others, who have been deemed deeper in the secret, who impute it to the less honourable source of self-interest, to the mere spirit of ostentation, to the hope of its enabling him to bring about the destruction of the De Polignacs.
"The moment for the accomplishment of the Queen's darling hope was now at hand: she was about to become a mother. "It had been agreed between Her Majesty and myself, that I was to place myself so near the accoucheur, Vermond, as to be the first to distinguish the sex of the new-born infant, and if she should be delivered of a Dauphin to say, in Italian, 'Il figlio e nato.
I was the bearer of this petition to her Majesty, who said, 'I will undertake to have these good people relieved from so great an annoyance. She gave the document to M. de Vermond in my presence, saying, 'I desire that immediate justice be done to this petition. An assurance was given that her order should be attended to, but six weeks afterwards a second petition was sent up, for the nuisance had not been abated after all.
While Madame de Noailles was thus torturing Maria Antoinette with her exactions, the Abbé de Vermond, on the contrary, was exerting all the strong influence he had acquired over her mind to induce her to despise these requirements of etiquette, and to treat them with open contempt.